Russian Su-34 Fullback Jet Slams Into Apartment Building In A Ball Of Fire (Updated)
The fighter-bomber crash occurred in the city of Yeysk, just across the Sea of Azov from occupied areas of Ukraine.
A Russian military jet has crashed into a residential building in the city of Yeysk, and the Russian Ministry of Defense has confirmed that the aircraft involved is a Sukhoi Su-34 Fullback. In videos and images of the incident that have so far surfaced online, large black plumes of smoke can be seen emanating from the scene where the Russian jet went down, proceeded by a huge fireball. In one specific photo, what appears to be a member of the jet’s crew can be seen parachuting down next to the flames presumably after ejecting from the aircraft just an instant before the crash.
RIA News, a Russian-state media outlet, has quoted the Russian Defense Ministry's statement, and a version of it machine translated from Russian to English reads as follows: "On October 17, 2022, while climbing to perform a training flight from the military airfield of the Southern Military District, a Su-34 aircraft crashed. The aircraft crashed within the city of Yeysk." The statement went on to add that the crash was caused by an issue with one of the engines during takeoff, but the jet's two crewmembers are said to have ejected safely and survived. The extent of the injuries to the apartment building's tenants as well as civilians in the surrounding area is unknown at present.
The crash site's proximity to a nearby air base would help explain why the Su-34, which is a supersonic twin-engine fighter-bomber that has become a fixture in the Russian Air Force, was flying low over the area in the first place. The Russian city of Yeysk, which is a coastal town in the Krasnodar Territory situated directly across the Sea of Azov from the Russian-occupied Ukrainian city of Mariupol, is home to the Yeysk Airfield from which the Su-34 likely took off.
The Russian Defense Ministry's claim of an engine malfunction could also be corroborated by clips reportedly taken from security camera footage that appear to have captured the aircraft struggling to make altitude. As the aircraft is seen flying over city at a low altitude, then, just before impacting the building, we see two small explosions on the aircraft — its ejection seats firing. It then slams into the residential building.
In one particular photo taken shortly after the crash, a single parachute can be seen dropping toward the ground beside the massive explosion. The Su-34 can carry more fuel than any tactical jet in operation today. So when one crashes, especially if it is laden with gas on takeoff, the fireball would be very large regardless of any weapons it may be carrying.
Satellite imagery shows nearby Yevsk Air Base has become a major Su-34 forward operating base with 10 of the visible on October 6th. Many other interesting aircraft are seen at the base as well.
The War Zone will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.
Contact the author: Emma@thewarzone.com